Work together as a community to restore the Vasona Creek and its surroundings creating a vibrant natural ecosystem, a living laboratory and classroom, and an inviting recreational resource for all to enjoy.
To inform and engage the community in the Vasona Creek restoration and trail building efforts at West Valley College, a Vasona Creek Restoration Workshop was held on December 12, 2013. Click here to view the information presented. Stay tuned for future workshops and opportunities for community involvement.
For millennia, the Vasona Creek cut a path through the heart of what is now West Valley College. Undisturbed, the creek thrived. Surrounded by a beautiful Oak Woodland and part of a watershed that flows from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the San Francisco Bay, the Vasona Creek corridor was home to an abundant and diverse wildlife.
Through the 1940s and 1950s, the site remained open pasture and orchards.
As the area began to urbanize in the 1950s and 1960s, both upstream and down, much of the rain and spring runoff was collected and concentrated in man-made underground storm drains instead of being allowed to naturally flow through the soil and into the creek.
The development of West Valley College in 1960s further concentrated the storm water and dumped it directly into one of the last remaining open sections of the pristine little Vasona Creek.
Virtually all of the rain that falls on the parking lots, roads, roofs, and pathways of West Valley College and surrounding areas, is channeled into pipes that discharge directly into the creek. This has resulted in a super-concentration of hydro energy that has accelerated the erosion of the banks, undermined ancient Heritage Oak Trees, and cut away at the creek bottom. The damage is increasing at an exponential rate. As the water cuts deeper into the creek, it carves out a narrower and deeper channel. This increases the energy and velocity of the water even more, providing more cutting power.
In addition to the concentration of the runoff, West Valley College, including its seven athletic fields, acres of turf area, parking lots, roads, paths, and roofs, has become a huge collector of pesticides, fertilizers, petroleum products, heavy metals and other pollutants. When the rains come, these pollutants get washed into the storm drain system and directly into Vasona Creek and on to the San Francisco Bay! Much of this runoff is toxic to the microscopic life forming the first link in our creek food chain.
Our ages old creek is dying a slow death by a thousand cuts.
But there is hope!
Restoration of the Vasona Creek has been a college priority for many years and has been specifically noted in both the 2005 Long Range Development Master Plan EIR (Environmental Impact Report) and the 2009 West Valley College Educational & Facilities Master Plan.
In 2010, the West Valley College administration applied for several creek restoration grants from the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD). We were successful in obtaining FIVE of the seven SCVWD grants applied for, with a total value of close to $600,000. These include:
In 2014, West Valley College obtained two more grants from SCVWD totaling another $500,000. These include:
For more information about the grant projects, see the Projects page.
To support our “in-kind” obligations under these grants, the leadership of the West Valley Mission Community College District, allocated $1,500,000 in funding under the Measure C Bond, passed by local voters in 2013.
This provides a total of $2,600,000 of committed funding. These funds will go a long way toward the restoration and conservation efforts required for Vasona Creek, but unfortunately not ALL the way.
The problem is, these funds are for “specific projects” in “specific areas” of the creek. They do not take into consideration the ENTIRE creek.
A group of forward thinking administrators, students, faculty and community members, are looking for help to “complete the vision”. This group, known as the " Stream Team ", is looking to gain community support to finish the project and fully develop the Vasona Creek Master Plan.
The Vasona Creek Master Plan includes:
The good news is that we’re more than half way there! With the current grants and bond funding, we have more than half the capital required to complete the dream. We finish the job by:
a. seeking additional grant monies
b. seeking donations from private individuals and corporations.
An account specific to the Vasona Creek Restoration is set up with the West Valley College Foundation. Our goal is to raise an additional $1,000,000! Opportunities for donors to be memorialized along the “Vasona Creek Legacy Trail” include: